Thursday, March 20, 2014


There are so many moments and instances when one should remain silent, and not just to not stick their proverbial foot in their mouth. I've been a victim of my own lack of judgement in this area many times, and the majority of these opportune "foot sticking" icky moments were under stress or anger - things I wish I hadn't said during a job interview or an argument. But while my keeping silent may or may not have conveyed anything more than good judgement, it certainly wasn't conveying anything profound.

So when I think of when silence may actually convey MORE meaning than a spoken word, my only thought is when it's accompanied by something physical; a touch or just a physical presence.

Many years ago, when Julianne was about 4 years old, she made me promise to never cut my hair short (as though I ever would). Throughout her younger years, she would lay with her head on my chest or shoulder, and stroke my hair for comfort.  I promised her then that I would never cut my hair, so that she would always have that which comforts her from her mother.
The other day, after a particularly tough day, we were riding in the car together and she reached over and pulled my ponytail over my shoulder to the side she was sitting on and once again stroked my hair while she silently looked out the window. The stress she was feeling, and the comfort and relief that she got from that one small gesture, was indescribable. The depth of love I felt for her, and compassion for her need right then was overwhelming for me as her mom.

And what of just "being"? Being in the presence of someone in deep emotional need, where your mere presence says it all. I love that kind of beautiful silence. The kind that wraps it's arms around you from across the room. Aren't we always more blessed by the ones in our life who "show up"? Even if it's a little awkward and you don't know what to say.  Probably the best time to remain silent. And when there's a language barrier (as has been the case in so many of my experiences that demand communication), what is left but your physical presence? Your willingness to jump in and help someone in need, or as I said earlier, just "be"?

Olivia recently moved back in with me after living away at school for 3 1/2 years, and sure enough she brought that pain-in-my-butt-dog named Thomas. Not only does he share the unfortunate name of my ex-husband, he is a card-carrying, certifiable Audrey hater. So of course we already know that he's insane. This dog loves everyone. Except Audrey. I want to kill him when he growls as she approaches. She doesn't even need to touch him and he's aggravated by her. Half the time I want to kill him for daring to diss my perfect baby. But in a rare moment the other day in my kitchen, a very tired Audrey was sitting on the floor lost in thought, enjoying a nice quiet bottle of milk. And this crazy dog, who 99% of the time would like to walk her to the nearest bust station and buy her a one way ticket to the Bermuda Triangle, sat next to her on that kitchen floor and didn't even twitch as she lovingly, and silently, stroked his ear.  

1 comment:

John said...

Beautiful words, Steph. You do a wonderful job of understanding and letting the little moments just 'be'. Some moments may pass in silence but they communicate words to the heart, nonetheless.